I have a collection of beliefs that I follow as a professional personal trainer. These beliefs form the basis of my training philosophy and help guide my career. One of these beliefs is “Know more about the subjects of health and fitness than your athlete.”
Fellow trainers please let that run through your head for a few minutes. Take into account that we work in an industry that sees a high degree of fads and numerous trends that spring up all the time. While it may seem obvious that we as fitness professionals will know more about health, wellness and fitness than nearly any of our clients, we also know this is not always the case and that there are many sources of information competing with us. A high degree of information out there is outright false yet still clings to peoples memories. There is also information out there that might totally oppose your views, but may prove valid. I believe this is highly relevant in the case of diet and weight loss/performance nutrition.
“I don’t care what Chris said, get your a$$ in the hip abductor machine!”
Over the last few years intermittent fasting has gained a tremendous amount of traction. Initially it was billed as a great way to lose weight, increase energy and for digestive health. Numerous religions practice various forms of fasting as part of their practice and human history has demonstrated that we can go without food for extended periods of time. If not, we would have been wiped off the planet many years ago.
For both weight loss clients and sports and performance athletes fasting seems counter intuitive. Further compounding this problem are trainers that have been doling out the same eating advice for years, many with zero idea why they say what they saying. Most likely they are regurgitating something they read or heard before, or something that worked for them/previous clients. This doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but doesn’t always make them right either. Perhaps the most common advisories given are something along the lines of “Eat 5-6 small meals per day” , “Cut Grains/Dairy/Sugar” or ” Take in 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.”
I’ve gone more than 1 day without eating, I can safely state that hunger never drove me to cannibalism.
At the 2013 National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) National Conference, John Berardi PhD, CSCS, presented on the topic of Intermittent Fasting and current scientific facts and fiction behind it. Of particular interest to me was the information Dr. Berardi put forth at the videos 40 minute mark regarding intermittent fasting and its effect on females.
The presentation can be viewed here: